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Learning from Good Samaritans the right way

Good Samaritans are those people who are selfless, are never after wealth in any form and have larger purposes of life written in their actions. They are role models in compassion, in creativity and selfless sacrifice. Good Samaritans never die. They survive and their messages also inspire millions. This article is an attempt at understanding some basic lessons from them.


Good Samaritans need a huge encouragement from the entire society. They should never be unsung heroes or heroines of life at any stage. By focusing on what they had done, or are doing, we can learn so many lessons from them. Here the focus is on a) two outstanding case studies b) learning how we can emulate them c)sensitizing the younger generation and d) ensuring continuity. Each of these points is sought to be discussed in some detail in this article.

Two outstanding case studies

Not so far away from the Rah Bhavan in Chennai, where the prestigious Anna University has its Administrative headquarters is another landmark that is impossible to miss: The Adayar Cancer Institute Chennai. This has become a big hospital now and is probably the best in India. It gets cancer patients from around the country. It is also home to hundreds of thousands of poor cancer patients, who get totally free treatment or treatment at an affordable cost. In fact many poor patients have been treated for early and first stage cancer and are leading healthy lives.

The Institute has one of the outstanding doctors of all time -- Dr Shantha, who have been the brain behind all developments. Dr Shantha's selfless life is a huge case study by itself. Those who have been treated often recall with fond affection, the kindness that she always shows towards patients. She is the beacon of hope for hundreds of thousands of cancer patients. There are patients from abroad too. Dr Shantha is widely recognized as a Good Samaritan of sorts in this part of the world. In fact she has inspired a huge number of good doctors to join her and the hospital itself is widely recognized for the best possible cancer treatment.

Flip through the pages of any Tamil magazine or newspaper and it is quite possible to see Dr Shantha's warning to all people to understand cancer and know how it can affect you. Once you know that it will affect you anytime, take all precautions. This message is now firmly entrenched in all people. Dr Shantha has sought donations from the Corporate sector and has been able to manage the cost of treatment of the poor people, who cannot afford the very high cost of cancer treatment.

Cut to Madurai city: This city itself is home to the finest food that one can get between 6PM in the evening till around 3 AM the following day. It has earned the reputation of "thoonga nagaram"(the city that never sleeps). However, a good plate of food, sambar, rasam, pickle , cooked vegetables and butter milk for Rs.10 in 2018 is by itself a great revolution. Yes, it still happens with Raamu Thaatha, who has his shop near the Anna Bus station. This old man, now in his eighties once gave the same food for Rs.1.50. Can you believe this? Over a period of time, the cost has just increased to Rs.10/-, He also supplies idli and a few other items in the morning at highly subsidized rates, He has been serving the very poor for decades at the very same place. He has won many awards from local citizens for his selfless service.

He is solving the hunger pangs of thousands of poor people. He is so famous that very poor transit passengers who go to the surrounding villages, who just cannot afford food at high prices, come to his shop only and have been sort of regular customers. He is also on record as having promised to his late wife that he would continue his mission without any let up even after her death. He still manages his little shop to this day. The Puthiya Thalamurai, a leading TV channel has made a video and this can be seen in You tube. Of course, the video is in Tamil but it speaks volumes for the kind of sacrifice that this old man is doing to the society as a single human being.

There are more. There is a superb industrialist who arranges for the funeral of poor people who die on the roads or due to ill health at Coimbatore. The world famous social scientist and environmentalist Medha Patkar, The famous Arvind Eye hospital in the very same Madurai city that undertakes hundreds of eye operations for the poor which totally free of cost are some examples.

How we can emulate them

Granted. We just cannot do what these outstanding people do. Or what others do, full time. However what does their life teach us? Compassion for the poor. Service that extends far beyond commercial considerations. Empathy of the tallest order. A huge emphasis on making a difference to the lives of others. Bringing about harmony and peace in individuals and families and consequently, in the wider society/ Bringing about change in whatever little ways we can.

For example, Raamu Thatha in Madurai embodies the change that is the toast of communists. He literally shares his wealth with the poor in the strict sense of the word!!

What we can do is to refer very poor eye patients to Arvind Hospital and also refer to the cancer hospital, wherever applicable. There are now a huge range of preventive treatments for cancer available. We should also focus on each one of these and advise people accordingly. Am doing this with whatever knowledge I have. Those with the glucoma problem are referred to Arvind hospital and even operations are done free of cost for the very poor people.

Similarly, we can all do some good in whatever little ways we can. For example, the empathy of these people is a quality that really comes across as a big plus. Why not develop this empathy as a big human quality and do something? For instance, there are so many college students now in the forefront of the "no plastics" campaign in Tamil Nadu. We should take such initiatives to the next level, through our own ways. For instance, when we ourselves carry the jute bags and the cloth bags and the vessels to take parcel from any hotel, we would have ourselves contributed to a noble cause.

Of course, we could also help the hospitals with whatever funds we can mobilize. Chennai based Corporate organizations are already doing this. But the scope is huge. Similarly, in other places too, such contributions can and should be made by everyone.

The Kerala floods have proved that as a nation, we have it in our blood. However, we need to get such good acts done as a matter of routine, if we were to do justice from the lessons learned from the great Good Samaritans.

Sensitizing the younger generation

Of late, a huge number of IT technology employees, all of them in their twenties and thirties, are taking huge interest in matters related to society. There are also part of mass movements.

In this connection, we need to reach across to a larger number of these young people. Even while we do this, we can also reach the very young at schools and sensitize them with awareness towards environment protection, the plastic menace, the menace of drugs and so on. We should also help them understand the yeoman service done by the likes of Dr Shantha and Raamu Thaatha. We should spread the good word around and develop empathy in small children at a very young age.

Ensuring continuity

When we have continuity of good things, the rest will follow. We can always help create awareness among poor people about facilities like what is available at the Cancer Hospital and the Arvind Eye Hospital, Madurai. We can in our little ways, promote harmony and good health by weaning away people from the dreaded tobacco and consumption of liquor, two major contributors to all sorts of cancer. Let us do our bit today, for a better tomorrow.

Let us salute the Good Samaritans. May their tribe increase.


Author: Manish Nanda28 Aug 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 2

A good article indeed.

However, I have a question. When we all know what is right and what is wrong for us, for the society, for the nation, for the entire living beings on this planet, why do we still don't see the urgency to change. Why only few of us are trying to bring all the change in the world.

Is it because we don't have the money, or the time or don't have that urge.

Author: ABSivakumar28 Aug 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

All of them indeed. We are impatient. Our family responsibilities tie us down to a huge routine. We are not able to do anything innovative at all. How many of us can be like Ramu Thatha of this article, who will at best make a ridiculous profit of less than Rs200? We need to do whatever is possible. That is all.

Author: Natarajan31 Aug 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 12

An excellent tribute to the many unnamed good Samaritans who do a noble service day in and day out. Most of these kind souls never want to be in the limelight, never want their acts to be publicized. It is ironic to note that many so-called holy men, charity leaders, public figures and politicians do the opposite to garner attention towards them.

The real truth is all of us can be Good Samiratans, in a small way in our own daily lives. The school teacher, focusing on the struggling students rather than just focussing on the rank holders, the government officials who can do his/her own job with passion rather than on the lookout for some extra money changing hands, the postman taking time to read a letter to an aged senior citizen, the common man helping people who are unfortunate to have had a fall or accident etc instead of just standing and taking videos or selfies and so on. The list is endless but the point is we can all do it and slowly build-up on it.

There is one gentleman Vaidya Narayana Murthy (fondly known as Medicine Man) near Shimoga, Karnataka, who dispenses free herbal medicines for cancer patients. The poor, people who have lost all hope come flocking here to get the herbal medicine. He has been doing it for years without asking for anything in return.

Likewise, the Bangalore traffic police regularly handout Good Samaritan awards to people who come forward to give timely help to an accident victim and to the poor autorickshaw drivers who return cash and jewellery that have been left behind by passengers.

Yes, we need to spread the awareness among the younger generation. At our home, for children's birthday, instead of a big cake and fancy party, we donate groceries and rice to a nearby orphanage. Hopefully, children will understand this and incorporate the ideas into them. Similarly, we all can be Good Samaritans and to me, the amount of money given is not that important, what is important is the thought, the time, to physically get involved in doing such kind acts as a part of repaying it back to the society and the underprivileged.

Author: Umesh02 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A nice article regarding good work done by some people in the society and our take on that.

It is true that there are some good Samaritans in the society who are extending an extraordinary helping hand to the needy and destitute in the society and thus putting an example of a noble deed in front of all of us. We are supposed to be motivated by such actions and should contribute to the society in a similar manner. Unfortunately it is not so. We are mostly busy in our own selfish ways.

This world would have been a beautiful place if we had more noble souls. Statistically, a very small percentage of people on Earth are generous, helping and humanistic in their approach. Good Samaritans are emerging out of this lot only.

Author: Reena Upadhya04 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Good Samaritans are the people who consider others needs before them. Because of this selfless attitude of theirs, they are considered as the greatest examples or role models. They help us to look on the brighter side and teach us the larger way of living. They help us to understand what life is and how we need to live. They put others first. This characteristic differentiates them from others.

A peculiar thing about them is that they do not need others approval. They are in denial mode when it comes to catering self-needs. They always put others needs as the top priority. This selfless act of theirs definitely receives a lot of approval from everyone around them. Thus, approval is never a problem for them. They know that they are doing a great deed and a right thing.

When we selflessly lose ourselves and serve others we will find happiness in the greater good. It is a kind of blissful contentment and leads us towards the path of righteousness and spirituality. We can live our lives and accomplish many deeds. We can live for various purposes such as money, fame, respect, possessions and other things. These are not selfless in nature. What we really learn from good Samaritans is how to lose ourselves in the journey and help others to grow and progress.

Only when we inculcate the selflessness in ourselves and understand what service is, we will add much more meaning to our lives. We will then truly understand our importance in the world. We respect and get attracted to selfless personalities. We need to learn the same and give more importance to this selfless attitude of theirs and make it our own. We too need to learn to share and enjoy the contentment behind generous giving. This kind of happiness lasts forever. The joy of giving is everlasting.

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